Community workshops examine solutions for alcohol related harm

Community workshops examine solutions for alcohol related harm

Pictured: Andy Piutau co-designing with community participants

A series of community workshops has given local people an opportunity to help reduce
alcohol-related harm where they live, learn, work, and play in South Auckland
Healthy Families South Auckland (The Cause Collective) hosted four community workshops
for residents, church ministers, youth, and sports and fitness advocates to lead the
participation of effective solutions to harmful drinking.

The community workshops were delivered in a co-design format, whereby community
participation is paramount to actively involve them in the designing of prototypes to ensure
the results meets their needs and is usable.

Chante, a Clover Park resident, enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the significance of
alcohol-related harm in New Zealand and potential solutions to reducing alcohol harm.

“I grew up in a family that loves to celebrate. Alcohol was typically consumed as part of
those celebrations. Sadly, I’ve had a few family members die because of drink-drinking, so
the effect of alcohol has been heavy in my family,” she says.

A teacher at a South Auckland school, Chante believes that alcohol education will play a key
role in helping to reduce alcohol related harm in South Auckland.

“Our literacy around alcohol is lacking so educational workshops aimed at youths will be
crucial to helping reduce alcohol-related harm in South Auckland,” she says.

“If people that overdrink don’t know the harm they are causing to others when they drink. We
need to help them understand the dangerous consequences that can occur when they
consume too much alcohol.”

As highlighted by the Ministry of Health NZ, harmful drinking can cause serious health,
personal and social problems. Alcohol is one of the main preventable risk factors for several
diseases, such as cancer, mental health conditions and long-term conditions.

Healthy Families South Auckland aims to improve people’s health where they live, learn,
work, and play by taking a systems approach to reducing risk factors of chronic disease and
increasing health equity. 

Reverend Ifalame Teisi of The Free Church of Tonga in Favona, agrees that positive change
to alcohol-related harm in South Auckland requires solutions from local people.

“The most powerful solution will come from the individuals involved in alcohol harm. This is
what I like about the initiative that we’re developing as the solutions come from the families
that need help. Therefore, the individual will be empowered to make change,” he says.

Andy Piutau, Lead Systems Innovator, Healthy Families South Auckland, facilitated the four
community workshops and says the next steps will involve garnering support from key
stakeholders to implement the community solutions.

“Alcohol-related harm is a serious issue in South Auckland that has a negative generational
impact on whanau and communities. The lived realities of community residents are important
to help create solutions for better health for people who struggle with their drinking and
cause harm to others in their home, work and/or social environments,” he says.

“We’re focused on a whole-of-community approach to reduce alcohol related harm that is
created for community by community. Our environmental approach to reduce alcohol related
harm in South Auckland will be focused on community creating new social and cultural
norms for safe drinking.”

“Following the community workshops, we’re reaching out to local government, and other
relevant local stakeholders to help prototype these solutions from our community workshops.
They have a significant part to play to help support our residents to help reduce alcohol-
related harm in the areas where they live, learn, work and play,” he says.